Auto crime prevention

Whether you're a commuter parking your vehicle in a structure or lot during the day or you keep it onsite overnight as a resident, it's important to take measures to prevent theft or damage.

  • The single most important factor in deterring auto crimes is being selective in where you park your car. Park in well-lit, well-populated areas and lock your car.

  • Traffic flow is important. Park your car in areas with high vehicle and pedestrian traffic.

  • Have a kill switch installed and use a Club-type device to protect your car in addition to your alarm. Clubs are available for purchase at a discount from WSUPD.

  • Steering column sleeves are helpful in preventing car theft where cracking the column is necessary.

  • Tinted windows provide extra coverage for thieves who break into cars to steal radios, airbags or the car itself. Avoid heavily tinted windows.

  • Keep your car free of all items. Clothes, jackets, bags, boxes, sporting equipment and other items frequently left in cars attract a thief's attention.

  • Have your vehicle identification number etched in your car's glass. This deters theft. Retagging a stolen vehicle is too expensive if all the windows need to be replaced. VIN etching is available through WSUPD.

Using as many of these devices or tips as possible makes a "car shopper" more likely to pass up your vehicle.

Throughout the year, WSUPD hosts free VIN-etching sessions for the campus community. This process — in which the vehicle identification number is permanently etched into the surface of at least six windows of a vehicle  — is endorsed by many auto insurance companies. The permanent, professional results provide traceable numbers in case of theft, reducing the profit motive for auto theft. All VIN etching sessions are announced via CAMPUSWATCH emails and on the event page.